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Analysis

Rite Aid Names Heyward Donigan as New CEO

By John Commins  
   August 14, 2019

Heyward Donigan takes the reins as Rite Aid and rivals CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance battle to extend their reach into traditional provider services.

Rite Aid Corp. has named veteran healthcare executive Heyward Donigan chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Donigan succeeds John Standley who Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid said had planned to step aside once his replacement was named.

"I see tremendous opportunity to revitalize the company's position as a leader in meeting the health and wellness needs of customers and patients through our store and pharmacy benefit management platforms," Donigan said in a media release.

Rite Aid Corp. , the nation's third-largest drug store chain, operates 2,466 stores in 18 states and pharmacy benefits manager EnvisionRxOptions. The company posted $21.6 billion in revenues in fiscal 2019.  

Donigan takes the reins as Rite Aid and rivals CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance battle to expand traditional pharmacy services and extend their reach into provider services, both digitally, and through walk-in clinics and urgent care centers.

Donigan comes to Rite Aid from Sapphire Digital, where for the past four years she has served as the president and CEO. Sapphire Digital, formerly Vitals, designs omnichannel consumer platforms for accessing healthcare providers. 

Before that, Donigan was president and CEO of ValueOptions, then the nation's largest independent behavioral health company. She also has extensive experience in the health insurance sector, having served in senior leadership at Premera Blue Cross, Cigna Healthcare, Empire BCBS and U.S. Healthcare.

Rite Aid Board Chairman Bruce Bodaken said Donigan was picked to lead the company based on her "strong senior executive experience, proven leadership capabilities and consistent track record of driving profitable growth, as well as her broad healthcare knowledge and digital shopping technology expertise set her apart."

"Her skillset will be invaluable as we work to deliver on the full potential of our business and create additional long-term value for our shareholders, associates, customers and patients," Bodaken said.

As part of her inducement reward, Donigan will be given $2 million in restricted stock which will vest in equal annual installments for the next three years, and nonqualified stock options valued at $2 million to be vested over the next four years.  

“I see tremendous opportunity to revitalize the company's position as a leader in meeting the health and wellness needs of customers and patients through our store and pharmacy benefit management platforms.”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Donigan comes to Rite-Aid from Sapphire Digital, where for the past four years she has served as the president and CEO.

As part of her inducement reward, Donigan will be given $2 million in restricted stock which will vest in equal annual installments for the next three years, and nonqualified stock options valued at $2 million to be vested over the next four years.


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